To help counsel homeowners who are at risk of foreclosures, Governor Maggie Hassan has announced the launch of a three-year, statewide initiative known as HomeHelpNH. This $3.5 million coordinated counseling effort will provide New Hampshire homeowners who are at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure with access to information and assistance about alternatives to foreclosure. The initiative is part of a larger $7 million effort, which includes funding for legal services through the New Hampshire Foreclosure Relief Project. HomeHelpNH is sponsored by the New Hampshire Department of Justice, the New Hampshire Banking Department, and New Hampshire Housing.
The HomeHelpNH initiative will create and sustain a statewide network of free, independent counselors who can provide borrowers with professional pre- and post-foreclosure counseling services. These services-including reviewing mortgage documents, studying budget options, exploring mortgage modification, and referring clients to legal services-will improve the outcomes for homeowners who are at-risk. For assistance, homeowners may call 2-1-1 from anywhere in the state to receive referrals to a counselor in their area or, for those who qualify, to free or low-cost legal services, or go to www.HomeHelpNH.org for more information about pre- and post-foreclosure counseling services available in the state.
"While New Hampshire's economy has improved over the last several years, many homeowners in the state are still struggling," said Governor Maggie Hassan. "This new initiative by the Department of Justice, the Banking Department, and New Hampshire Housing creates a valuable network of resources for our state. Their efforts, combined with the expertise of the housing counseling agencies, will help at-risk homeowners in New Hampshire regain control of their finances so that they may have the best possible outcome given their housing situation."
"For the past five years, there have been over 3,000 foreclosures annually in New Hampshire," said Dean Christon, Executive Director of New Hampshire Housing. "While the number of foreclosures is beginning to slow, the negative effects of foreclosure on the housing market and our state's economy continue to linger. Providing homeowners with counseling and advice about alternatives to foreclosure may help people make better choices and reduce the number of distressed properties on the market, which is good for the health of individual communities and the state's overall economic recovery."
Funded through the National Mortgage Settlement, which awarded relief to distressed borrowers and provided direct payments to states to aid people affected by foreclosure, eight regionally-based nonprofit housing counseling agencies will provide free comprehensive foreclosure intervention and counseling services. These agencies are:
AHEAD, based in Littleton;
Laconia Area Community Land Trust, based in Laconia;
NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire, based in Manchester;
CATCH Neighborhood Housing, based in Concord;
Community Home Solutions, based in Seabrook;
Southwestern Community Services, based in Keene;
The Housing Partnership, based in Portsmouth; and
The Way Home, based in Manchester.
"Homeowners having trouble paying their mortgage or who are facing foreclosure experience an emotional, financial and familial crisis," said Matt Manning, Homeownership Center Director for AHEAD in Littleton. "Yet, addressing foreclosure requires homeowners to take an objective view and an active role to navigate a very complex and technical process. With the HomeHelpNH initiative, at-risk homeowners will receive free help from qualified independent housing counselors, who can help them make realistic choices about their future."
HomeHelpNH will work in conjunction with the New Hampshire Foreclosure Relief Project, a partnership between the New Hampshire Bar Association, New Hampshire Legal Assistance, and the Legal Advice and Referral Center. The Foreclosure Relief Project provides low or no cost legal assistance to homeowners who are facing foreclosure or foreclosure-related financial and legal problems. For information on the NH Foreclosure Relief Project, go to www.nhlegalaid.org.
About HomeHelpNH: HomeHelpNH is a statewide foreclosure counseling initiative sponsored, in part, by the New Hampshire Department of Justice, New Hampshire Banking Department and New Hampshire Housing. The initiative's goal is to help at-risk homeowners find solutions through free, comprehensive pre- and post-foreclosure counseling. For more information, go to www.HomeHelpNH.org or dial 2-1-1.
About New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority: New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority is a self-supporting public-benefit corporation. The Authority operates a number of rental and homeownership programs designed to assist low- and moderate-income persons with obtaining affordable housing. Since its inception, New Hampshire Housing has helped nearly 40,000 families purchase their own homes and has been instrumental in financing the creation of more than 14,500 multi-family housing units. More information about its programs can be found on the agency's website at www.nhhfa.org or www.GoNewHampshireHousing.com.